16 December, 2003
Greece’s foreign ministry is expected to soon establish a special “Olympics consulate” in order to cut red tape for issuing visas to members of the extended “Olympic Family” for of next year’s Olympic and Paralympic Games, when necessary.
The office will reportedly be based at the Athens 2004 Olympics Organizing Committee’s (ATHOC) headquarters.
Legislation allowing the “Olympic consulate” is included in an amendment expected to be tabled in Parliament on Tuesday, the first step in creating the special service.
The “Olympic consulate” will employ a simplified procedure – an exception to Schengen Pact guidelines – for Olympic Family nationals otherwise necessitating a visa to enter the country. The simplified visa procedures for such individuals will continue until the end of the Paralympic Games -- in other words, between Jan. 1 and Oct. 31, 2004.
The same amendment foresees a 10-day leave for civil servants serving as volunteers for the 2004 Olympic Games.
Source: Athens News Agency